Hate. Hurt. Healing
For one year during apartheid, I traveled extensively throughout South Africa, which classified every person into four racial groups, “native”, “white”, “colored”, and “Asian”. Billeted in homes, our missionary singing group ministered to the English, Afrikaners, Coloreds (mixed-race group), Zulus, Xhosas, and Indians. Each ethnic group shared from their perspective concerning racial segregation.
Hate. Hate. Hate.
Hurt. Hurt. Hurt.
Appalled by apartheid’s pettiness and contempt for all of God’s children, my heart rejected identifying with some white people. My acerbic side relished the pleasure of watching horrified expressions, when I informed the English or Afrikaners of the medical treatment I received at a hospital for “coloreds only.” I taunted those who considered their “maids” and “houseboys” as soulless, by asking, “Have you shared God’s love with your servants?”
Years later, I wondered, How was I so ignorant of a hero banished and brutalized in prison on Robben Island? A mere twelve kilometers from one of my favorite cities on earth — Cape Town.
Nelson Mandela’s legacy, moral authority, integrity, and amazing courage to forgive awed me. In the face of a divided South Africa, Nelson Mandela encouraged restraint, forgiveness and reconciliation. No one today would ask, “Did Nelson Mandela do the right thing?”
I was asked to speak at my alma mater’s 50th anniversary about how my time as a student at Oral Roberts University, known for healing, influenced me and how my faith in God infuses me with resilience to help me process my son’s homicide. Before I shared my broken hallelujah, a young, white South African Afrikaner, a freshman from the 50th freshman class, shared his passion.
During apartheid his father pastored the first white church in South Africa to welcome all God’s children — no matter their color, their tribe or their cultural heritage. This young man also admitted that twenty years after apartheid has ended, much healing still needs to take place in post-apartheid South Africa. Once he graduates, this energetic young man wants to return to his country to take part in healing his country.
My fifth great uncle, President Abraham Lincoln, once said, “There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.” He also noted, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
When did the destructiveness of looting, ransacking, burning down businesses — people’s livelihoods and services to the community — help people, their community or legitimate grievances? Angry people stir up a lot of discord; the intemperate stir up trouble. Proverbs 29:22 (MSG)